Assembly Committee Approves Important Water Efficiency Bill

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 25, 2006

AB2515 Addresses Water Needs, Encourages Efficiency and Conservation

Contact: Ian Hart, media(at)pacinst.org or 510-251-1600

(Sacramento, Calif.) A landmark water conservation bill has progressed in the California Assembly. Sponsored by the Pacific Institute, AB 2515 would improve on California’s commitment to water conservation. Efficiency improvements are the fastest, cheapest, and most environmentally sound way to ensure that California continues to meet its water needs. The Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife approved AB 2515 this morning.

“California has a long and proud tradition of leading the nation in developing efficient appliances and technologies that save water, energy, and the environment,” said Assemblymember Ira Ruskin (D-Redwood City), who introduced the legislation. “By approving this bill today, the Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife is continuing that tradition.”

AB 2515 would ask the California Energy Commission to develop water-efficiency standards similar to those that have been successful for energy efficiency. The bill also calls for a study of the possible role that informational labels might play in helping consumers choose more water-efficient appliances. It asks the Public Utilities Commission to explore ways to get regulated water agencies to invest in water efficiency improvements.

“By approving this legislation, we are taking a major step toward reducing the wasteful use of water and energy by replacing old, inefficient appliances and technologies, and providing consumers and homeowners with smart, cost-effective alternatives,” said Dr. Peter Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute. “Our research shows that currently available water efficiency technologies and practices could save more water than any new dams could provide, at a far lower cost.”

Existing technologies could actually cut per-capita water use. For example, new high-efficiency washing machines use 40 percent less water than traditional front-loading machines. Savings in water use lead to additional savings in energy use. According to the Pacific Institute report “California Water 2030: An Efficient Future,” implementing existing water-efficiency technologies and practices can reduce water use in 2030 to 20 percent below 2000 levels, while supporting a growing population, a healthy agricultural sector, and a strong economy.

AB 2515 is supported by California Urban Water Conservation Council, The Bay Institute, California Public Utilities Commission, East Bay Municipal Utility District, El Dorado Irrigation District, Environmental Defense, Mono Lake Committee, Planning and Conservation League, and the Sierra Club of California. The bill will be considered next by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

The Pacific Institute is dedicated to protecting the natural world, encouraging sustainable development, and improving global security. Founded in 1987 and based in downtown Oakland, the Institute provides independent research and policy analysis on issues at the intersection of development, environment, and security.

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